2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #72
Atlético Ottawa vs. FC Edmonton
August 7, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. ET
TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, Ontario
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Sunday in the Canadian Premier League begins in the nation’s capital, as Atlético Ottawa seek a bounce-back performance at home when FC Edmonton come to town for the first time in the CPL.
Ottawa enter this weekend’s contest not quite flying as high as they were a week ago, having been trounced 4-0 at home last Sunday by Forge FC. Prior to that, Atleti had been unbeaten in five straight, and they’d spent time at the top of the league table, but the Week 17 results brought them back down to Earth as Forge, Pacific, and Cavalry all leapfrogged them.
As it stands, Ottawa sit fourth in the standings after 17 games, with an 8-5-4 record and 29 points. The good news is they have two games in hand on third-place Cavalry (who lost to Valour on Wednesday) and they’re just two points back, so they could certainly move back up the table with a result in this contest.
The Eddies, meanwhile, make their first-ever trip to TD Place in the CPL era, having only hosted Atleti this season and last outside of bubbles. Their last outing was a trip to ATCO Field in Calgary, where they fell 2-0 in a hard-fought Wildrose Cup decider against Cavalry. This match will be the fourth of Edmonton’s current six-game road trip, from which they so far have just one point (a draw in Halifax with the Wanderers).
In the league table, Edmonton remain at the bottom with 18 games played. Their record is 2-5-11 with 11 points, six back of York United for the next rung in the ladder.
The better news for Alan Koch and the Eddies is that some of their best performances of the year have come against Atlético Ottawa. Their first meeting at Clarke Stadium was a narrow 2-1 win for Ottawa, but their next contest in mid-June was Edmonton’s first win of the 2022 season, as Bicou Bissainthe scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory for FCE.
“I feel like we could’ve beaten them both times we played them at home,” Edmonton head coach Koch said. “But playing them at their place is a whole different game. We know it’s not gonna be easy. But like we do every game — I think people see this, I get a lot of comments from people and it’s who we have to be — we’re going to work incredibly hard.”
These two clubs haven’t met many times in their history — the first was a 2-2 draw at the Island Games in which Edmonton came back from two goals down — but Atleti have the slight upper hand, with three wins from six meetings.
This trip to Ottawa will be yet another new challenge for the young Eddies team, but they’ll embrace it as always.
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All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980. Tous les matchs de l’Atlético Ottawa sont aussi disponibles en français sur OneSoccer.
3 THINGS TO WATCH
- Long road trip calls for resilience from Edmonton: The Eddies are currently in what could fairly be called the hardest part of their season, currently in the middle of a six-game road trip (and a stretch where they’ll play eight of nine games away from home, with just one brief return to Clarke Stadium on August 28). Travel is always a difficult factor in the CPL, but when it compounds there’s sure to be a lot of tired bodies in the Edmonton camp. Nevertheless, Alan Koch and his side have become accustomed to dealing with adversity, and as such they’re facing the challenge head-on. They’re still looking for their first away win of the season, with two draws and six defeats so far, but with the defensive structure they’re able to deploy they could be well set-up to nick a result in any road match. “It’s difficult, to be brutally honest,” Koch said of the current road stretch. “We’re more fatigued, and I can speak for myself, than at any stage of the season, literally on the road every few days so it definitely takes a toll. We’re having to find the right balance between work and rest. The part we can’t adjust is travel — we have to travel, we have to play the games — so we’ve looked at our workload in terms of days we’ve actually trained and the specific work we’ve done on those days because we want to be as fresh as we possibly can be through this.”
- Ottawa confident in U-21 minutes target: Some around the CPL have been concerned in recent weeks to see Atlético Ottawa lagging behind other clubs when it comes to the U-21 minutes leaderboard, but the club took time the past few days to assure its fans that they’ll have no problem hitting the 2,000-minute threshold. Entering Sunday’s game, Atleti have 898 minutes banked, meaning they have 11 matches left to get the remaining 1,102. In last weekend’s Forge game, both Zakaria Bahous and Zachary Roy came off the bench for just over 60 minutes combined; expect one or both of those youngsters to play a significant role in Sunday’s team. Plus, Vancouver Whitecaps loanee Owen Antoniuk has yet to debut for Ottawa; he’s U-21 eligible, so as soon as he’s able to take part that’ll be a major boost to the team’s ability to add U-21 minutes. Ultimately, neither club president Fernando López nor coach Carlos González are concerned.
- Atleti seek ways to break down Eddies block: One of FC Edmonton’s greatest strengths this season has been the way they’ve been able to absorb pressure and make it very difficult for opposing attacks to break them down. They’ve been able to defend effectively with either four or five at the back, as well; last time out against Cavalry, Bicou Bissainthe and Nyal Higgins played together as centre-backs with T-Boy Fayia and Marcus Simmons at right and left fullback, respectively. The game before that, though, when they drew 1-1 with Halifax, Luke Singh slotted in with Higgins and Bissainthe as a third centre-back. Ottawa will likely need the likes of Ballou Tabla to help provide creativity from wide areas, and they’ll look for incisive passes between the lines from Ollie Bassett in midfield. They may require some time to feel out which route is likely to be most effective for them in this particular contest, as Edmonton will surely be well set-up to defend as they have been in both other meetings with Atleti this year.
Atlético Ottawa wins: 3 || FC Edmonton wins: 1 || Draws: 2
June 19, 2022 – FC Edmonton 1-0 Atlético Ottawa
“We make it very, very difficult for every team that we play, and try to get something out of it. We know it’s gonna be a tough challenge. They are the favourites to win the game but we’re gonna go give it our best shot.” — FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch